By Vita Forest
In which our heroine has an encounter with a being from another land.
Sometimes strange, unidentifable beings appeared in the night sky.
On one such occasion, Christabel was alerted to the presence of the creature by the sudden agitation and interest of the whales. They were both looking up from the ocean floor, their eyes wide and ravenous, as if, by willpower alone, they would erupt from the water and leap into the very sky itself. They were swimming back and forth, their bodies rippling through the water, their eyes never leaving their prey in the sky.
(At first Christabel was quite overcome – were they looking at her? Were they formulating a plan to seduce her down below the waves and in between their jaws?) She blinked to disrupt the green dazzle of their stare and then noticed that the force of their eyes was not fixed on her, but on something beyond. She swung the eyeglass through a half revolution and pointed it up to the sky rather than down to the ocean.
And there it was, the four green eyes of the whales replaced by the eight black gleaming eyes of an alien in the sky. Christabel quivered with fright and almost dropped the eyeglass.
“Do not be afraid,” came a high silvery voice most befitting a creature from the celestial realm, “I mean you no harm.”
The voice was comforting in a strange sort of way and Christabel placed a green-gloved paw to her chest to slow the clattering drum of her heart.
“What manner of creature are you?” she whispered back, pulling the eyeglass away from her face and taking in the new heavenly body in its entirety.
It was dark against the sky, a star emitting delicate rays from its centre. Only this star seemed to be made of darkness not light. If Christabel squinted, she could see that the rays flickered and danced because they were, in fact, legs.
Christabel rummaged through her memories of rainy day reading, flicking through the heavy pages inside her head until she alighted on an image.
“Are you in fact… a crab?”
She knew crabs had many legs as this creature did and the same disc-like body. But were crabs creatures of the air or of the element of water?
“Oh no!” came the reply, “I am a spider. I took a wrong turn I fear, sliding through a crack towards the light and now I find myself here, hunted by those beasts below.”
At this, the rays of its legs shivered slightly, as if every one of its eyes were meeting every one of the whales’ below. Christabel shivered herself.
“They cannot swim to the surface,” she called, “You are safe if you stay in the sky.”
“I see a ledge over yonder,” said the spider swiveling to starboard, “Is it a safe haven?”
Christabel turned to see what the spider was referring to.
“Oh no!” she exclaimed in realization, “For that is the moon. It is cold and benign now but at any moment it can explode into a light so bright it could burn and consume you whole! You cannot shelter there.”
“Where do you suggest I go?”
Christabel thought. What the spider needed was another crack. Not a crack in but a crack out.
“The Wall, ” she called, “There!” and she pointed beyond the icy moon to the place where The Ceiling met The Wall, where a rectangle peppered with clouds sat nestled in a hollow surrounded by cracks. “Could you squeeze through there?”
The spider contemplated the option for a moment, blinking all eight eyes.
“I believe so,” it answered, its voice tremulous with hope. “I think I have the strength to make it. Goodbye and thank you fair sailor”
“Farewell!” answered Christabel, “Safe journeying!”
And she waved her lacy handkerchief as the spider, slowly and precisely, inched its way across the heavens on its velvet tiptoes, a slow comet carefully arcing across the sky toward a new universe.